EFCC Beams Its Searchlight on Supreme Court’s Secretary, Gambo Saleh’s Alleged N10bn Loot/Federal Racketeering

*As Whistleblower’s Tip Tees Off Investigation

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has beamed its probing searchlight on the country’s apex court registrar, Ahmed Gambo, over his role in an alleged N10bn racketeering. Gambo, the court says, obtained the money in bribes from court contractors and other persons with criminal cases with the judiciary. 

Sources disclosed that the probe was necessitated by a tip-off from a whistleblower whose petitioned to the anti-graft body to look into the activities of the Registrar alleged to have been feeding fat on the court’s funds while neglecting vital projects.

Among others, Saleh had been accused of conniving with Surajo Muhammad, son of the immediate past Chief Justice of Nigeria, Muhammad Tanko, to embezzle public funds running into billions.

According to reliable sources, Mr Muhammad, Jnr, managed affairs of the apex court and wielded his father’s position as a tool to carry out backroom deals despite not being qualified for the job.

“Today, Surajo could be said to be a de facto head of the SCN as his father seems to have relinquished the administration of the court to him, even when he is not a staff,” the petition noted.

The petition, cited instances of their brazen underhand dealings, averred that the duo sold off the residence of a Supreme Court Justice without the knowledge of Mr Tanko, who was CJN at the time.

“It will interest you to know that a residence of a justice of the Supreme Court located in the villa, Abuja was sold by Gambo and Surajo recently. The underhand dealings between Gambo, Surajo and the agency so pissed the CJN that he ordered the reversal of the transaction,” added the petition with no. EFCC/PET/HQR/1817/2022, dated June 1 and seen by The Gazette. 

The building was demolished before the situation could be remedied, rendering the justice who should have been assigned the residence homeless. In collusion with Mr Muhammad, Mr Saleh reportedly withheld the funds meant for purchasing exotic vehicles usually assigned to newly sworn-in justices.

“Under Gambo and Surajo’s shenanigans, they, JSC were given only a Land Cruiser, albeit refurbished. A Hilux was added after one year, and to date, the Mercedes Benz is still being awaited by the justices,” the petition further disclosed.

Recalled that eight justices that were sworn-in in November 2020 are yet to be properly accommodated or receive the Benz assigned to them even though the projects were captured in the capital budget for the 2020 fiscal year. 

Following the discovery, Saleh, reputed not to be synonymous with underhand allegations, was charged with diverting N2.2bn in 2017 but was later withdrawn by the attorney general of the federation, citing a plea bargain. Yet, Saleh was appointed as secretary, National Judicial Council, despite the charges

However, Saleh was charged with diverting the Supreme Court’s N2.2bn to his personal bank account at the United Bank for Africa PLC, account number: 2027642863 over which he allegedly confessed that the money, a collection of cash gifted to him by friends, belonged to him. Upon further investigations, it was revealed that the money was “bribes collected from various court contractors who ended up executing shoddy jobs or outright abandonment,” the petition stressed.

He was also charged with obtaining N21 million gratification.

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